Weekly email list
- Cubs Designate Russell, Soriano; Select Contracts Of Cahill, Berry; Recall Baez
- Braves Promote Hector Olivera
- Royals Acquire Jonny Gomes
- Giants Acquire Alejandro De Aza
- Dodgers To Acquire Justin Ruggiano
- Cubs Acquire Austin Jackson
- Giants Still Discussing De Aza, Looking At Infielders
- Blue Jays To Name Mark Shapiro As Team President
- Mets Acquire Addison Reed From Diamondbacks
- Mets Claim Marc Rzepczynski On Revocable Waivers, In Talks With Padres
Trade Rumors Apps
- AL Central Notes: Johnson, Berrios, Floyd, Indians
- Phillies Notes: Amaro, Mackanin, Franco
- Marlins Begin Making Front Office Changes
- Padres Designate Chris Rearick For Assignment
- Minor MLB Transactions: 9/2/15
- Extension Candidate: Justin Turner
- Poll: Best August 31st Outfield Addition
- AL East Notes: Bundy, Eveland, Yankees, Craig
- Front Office Notes: Jennings, Mariners, Beinfest, Scioscia
- Notable September Call-Ups
- Central Notes: Arrieta, Berrios, Kirby
- Nationals’ Aaron Barrett To Undergo Elbow Surgery
- Reds Designate Dylan Axelrod For Assignment
- Angels Designate Alfredo Marte, Drew Rucinski
- Giants Designate Justin Maxwell For Assignment
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Allen Craig Rumors
The Orioles will begin to get an idea of where things stand with former top prospect Dylan Bundy, as he’s been cleared to begin a throwing program, MASNsports.com’s Steve Melewski tweets. It’ll be important for Baltimore to get a read on the righty, as he’ll be out of options next year. Now nearly 23, Bundy remains talented and rather youthful. But he’s thrown just 63 1/3 competitive, regular season innings since the end of the 2012 campaign.
Here’s more from the AL East:
- Orioles lefty Dana Eveland had an opt-out date yesterday, according to SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter), but he remains listed on the roster of the Triple-A Norfolk Tides. It would appear, then, that he’ll stay in the Baltimore organization and hope that his solid numbers at Triple-A earn him another chance at big league action late this year.
- The Yankees are set up to test their commitment to in-house development as soon as next season, ESPNNewYork.com’s Andrew Marchand writes. He discusses some of the options that could be relied upon in filling out the organization’s roster in the near future. GM Brian Cashman explained that the club is “pretty locked in on some guys,” apparently referencing the fact that New York is not looking at much roster turnover. What upcoming needs there are could be met from within. “We do have some square pegs that will fit in some square holes when you look at 2017,” said Cashman. “That’s a long way off. We do have some placeholders that potentially are going to be in place, if that is the direction we choose. That’s a good thing.”
- Red Sox first baseman/outfielder Allen Craig is getting another shot at the big leagues and is eager to prove he can still be productive, Tim Britton of the Providence Journal reports. “I feel great about where I’m at,” said Craig. “I know I’m a good player. I’m just looking forward to being back here and playing.” The former All-Star, who has struggled in recent years, says he’s still focused on the present and isn’t concerned with the possibility of moving to another organization. The big question with Craig, of course, is whether he can regain his power, which has yet to come around at Triple-A. Barring a sustained turnaround, Boston figures to have no real promise of finding a taker for any substantial portion of the 31-year-old’s remaining contract obligations.
Though the chances of the Orioles making a trade today may be remote, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun cautions not to rule out GM Dan Duquette making a final transaction. As Connolly notes, Duquette has made at least one trade in each of the past three Augusts, and the GM also told Connolly over the weekend that he’s not yet giving up on the 2015 season. Baltimore currently sits a seemingly insurmountable 11 games back of the AL East lead, but they’re a more manageable 5.5 games back from the second Wild Card position. Any players acquired after tonight’s midnight deadline would be ineligible for the postseason, though, so if a trade happens, it’s likely to come today.
Here are a few more notes pertaining to the O’s and the AL East…
- In his latest notes column, FOX’s Ken Rosenthal writes that Orioles owner Peter Angelos’ stubborn refusal to let Duquette go in order to take the Blue Jays’ president/CEO position last offseason “created an unhealthy environment” around the club’s front office. There’s some lingering resentment, Rosenthal hears, including some among executives who felt they were in line for a promotion upon Duquette’s departure.
- Within that column, Rosenthal also writes that Allen Craig is likely to be re-added to the 40-man roster for a September callup that will allow him to be evaluated not only by new Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, but also by rival teams. Craig, though, is owed $21MM through the end of the 2017 season and has batted a meager .271/.367/.348 since being outrighted to Triple-A Pawtucket this year. Boston may be able to flip him for a bad contract, but I’d imagine that with only a month’s worth of games and presumably intermittent playing time, it’ll be difficult for him to fully convince other clubs that he can again be an asset.
- Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times profiled and spoke to three veteran players that will be helping the Rays’ Wild Card push: J.P. Arencibia, Daniel Nava and Grady Sizemore. Topkin looks at how each came to join the Rays, with manager Kevin Cash admitting that the team initially expected Sizemore’s Tampa Bay tenure to last three or four days. Sizemore has instead been around for 37 games and delivered roughly league-average offensive production (park-adjusted), though his OBP and defensive skills are admittedly somewhat lacking.
Earlier today, the Braves shipped third baseman Chris Johnson to the Indians for Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher. Atlanta had long been said to be shopping Johnson, who expressed relief to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman (Twitter link) that his status was finally resolved. Meanwhile, Swisher indicated that he, too, is excited to get started “right away” with a new organization, as Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer tweets.
- Top Braves prospect Ozhaino Albies will miss the rest of the season after breaking his thumb, Bowman tweets. The 18-year-old shortstop has been solid this year at the Class A level, slashing .310/.368/.404 with 29 steals. While he’ll lose a bit of development time, the injury doesn’t seem to be much cause for concern given his young age.
- After dealing Mike Napoli to the Rangers, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said today that he “expects there will be another opportunity” for Allen Craig at the big league level this year, as Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald tweets. It’s not yet clear when that will occur, but Craig isn’t exactly knocking on the door. He’s slashed .274/.379/.341 over 298 plate appearances at Triple-A since his demotion, continuing a notable power outage that dates back to the start of 2014.
- Marlins sources say that GM-turned-skipper Dan Jennings is expected to return to the club’s front office after the year, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports. If and when the club enters the managerial market, says Jackson, it could consider names like Mike Lowell, Bud Black, Dusty Baker, Terry Kennedy, and Doug Mientkiewicz.
- While Mychal Givens was strong in his first few outings with the Orioles, the club is demoting him to provide another shot to Rule 5 pick Jason Garcia, as Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com writes. Garcia, 22, is back from an extended DL stint after allowing nine earned runs (and eight strikeouts against 11 walks) in his first 13 2/3 innings with Baltimore. In spite of those difficulties, the club seems fairly committed to locking up Garcia’s future rights by keeping him on the active roster the rest of the way.
Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe conducted a Q&A with Red Sox CEO/president Larry Lucchino over the weekend, and the two discussed a number of issues with what has been an uninspiring roster for much of the season. Shaugnessy notes early on, before getting to the Q&A, that it seems that Lucchino’s role has diminished given his involvement in the building of a new Rhode Island stadium for the club’s Triple-A affiliate and his role in Boston’s bid for the 2024 Olympics. Lucchino, however, denies that he’s less involved than in previous years. “I’ve had to throw myself into Pawtucket quite a bit because of [PawSox owner] Jim Skeffington’s death,” said Lucchino. “…It’s part of my Red Sox responsibility. The Olympics take a very small amount of my time. They asked me to take a larger role, but I demurred.”
Some roster-related highlights from the Q&A, as well as a couple other notes pertaining to the 2013 champs…
- Lucchino said he understands the comparisons that are being made between the Hanley Ramirez/Pablo Sandoval signings and the Carl Crawford signing/Adrian Gonzalez extension, but the team certainly never intended to duplicate the aggressive philosophy they showed in 2011. Asked if the Red Sox need to question their evaluation skills in light of those signings as well as the Rick Porcello extension and John Lackey trade, Lucchino replied, “We’re not immune to second-guessing ourselves, but I do think a little more water needs to run underneath the bridge before you can effectively evaluate some of these most recent transactions.”
- Shaughnessy pressed a bit on the Lackey trade in particular, noting that both of the players received in that deal — Joe Kelly and Allen Craig — are now in the minor leagues. Lucchino admitted that the trade looks dismal: “It certainly looks like that deal didn’t result in the kind of gains we thought we’d have in the major leagues. But both of those guys still play for the [Pawtucket] Red Sox and no one has given up on the pitching contributions that Joe Kelly can make in the future.” This is likely reading too much into the comment, but I find it interesting that he didn’t voice a similar vote of confidence in Craig.
- Lucchino voiced the same confidence in GM Ben Cherington and manager John Farrell that Red Sox owner John Henry has previously expressed. He also repeatedly said he’s yet to wave the white flag on the 2015 season, and the team will reassess more at the tail end of July.
- In an interview with WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford, Red Sox vice president of player personnel took exception to the narrative that Rusney Castillo was signed based on workouts as opposed to in-game experience. Baird explains that the Red Sox saw Castillo in international play as well as on video from Cuba. Additionally, while owner John Henry has noted in the past that missing out on Jose Abreu may have played a role in Boston’s aggressive pursuit of Castillo, Baird says that the Red Sox did their homework on Castillo. While Castillo certainly hasn’t performed at the level of Abreu, or even fellow countryman Yasmany Tomas, I’d add that it’s still early in his contract, and he’s been slowed by injuries as well.
- The Red Sox were originally optimistic about Hanley Ramirez’s hand after X-rays came back negative, but as Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald wrote yesterday, Ramirez is traveling back to Boston to receive an MRI due to persistent discomfort. Ramirez was hit by a line-drive while running the bases last Wednesday, and manager John Farrell told him that the pain worsened over the weekend. A trip to the disabled list is possible, writes Mastrodonato.
While all five AL East teams have clear roster needs, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe observes that the division is so closely-packed (and overall mediocre) through two months that one team could break away from the pack simply by getting healthy and playing up to expectations, rather than by making a big trade or two. Here are some hot stove items from Cafardo’s latest Sunday Notes column…
- “I don’t see us making a major acquisition for a pitcher [at this time] but I’m not going to say I wouldn’t do it,” Yankees GM Brian Cashman said. As Cafardo notes, the returns of Masahiro Tanaka and Ivan Nova could bolster the rotation, and prospect Luis Severino could also provide some late-season help.
- Reds right-hander Mike Leake is considered by one AL scout to be able to “pitch in either league with no problem” and at the trade deadline, “there might be more action on him than any pitcher out there.” The Reds could be looking to deal the free agent-to-be since they didn’t discuss an extension with him during the offseason.
- Leake’s trade value may be improved by the fact that teammate Johnny Cueto and the Athletics‘ Scott Kazmir (two more pending free agents) have recently been dealing with elbow and shoulder problems, respectively. Teams will need to see a few healthy outings from both pitchers before their trade interest can be rejuvenated.
- The Dodgers were scouting the Red Sox during their series with the Twins last week. Cafardo notes that L.A. is looking for relief help.
- With Matt Adams gone for possibly the entire season and the Cardinals in need of first base help, Cafardo opines that Allen Craig could be a possible trade fit. Craig’s contract, of course, is a major obstacle, not to mention the fact that St. Louis felt comfortable dealing Craig away last summer. Craig is hitting well at Triple-A but Cafardo writes that it might take “another two weeks of good hitting” for Craig to earn a call-up back to the Red Sox.
- With Trevor Plouffe playing well as the Twins‘ regular third baseman, Cafardo wonders if Minnesota would consider a position change for star prospect Miguel Sano. There has already been a lot of speculation that Sano might be not be able to handle playing third over the long term, though Plouffe is also not a great defensive option. Of greater concern for the Twins right now is Sano’s recovery from Tommy John surgery, and the early results are pretty good, as Sano is hitting .247/.346/.488 over 191 Double-A plate appearances.
It is by now well-documented that Allen Craig of the Red Sox has experienced a significant decline at the plate, leading to his outright off of the 40-man roster. But as Alex Speier of the Boston Globe explains, the fall-off has been so steep that it actually has historical dimensions. Looking at other players who posted consistently strong batting lines in their age-26 to 28 seasons, Speier shows that no other player has fallen as far as has Craig (62 OPS+) in the following two years. There could, of course, still be some hope of a turnaround given the complicated role that injuries in his struggles and the fact that he is still only 30.
- Rays lefty Drew Smyly appears to be reconsidering the surgical route and could instead attempt to rest and then rehab his ailing left shoulder, ESPN.com reports. It’s not clear what precipitated the changed approach, but manager Kevin Cash says that the current plan may allow Smyly to return later this year. “We’re optimistic,” Cash said. “We’re hearing good things.” While any return to action would, at this point, presumably be rather late in the year — Smyly was just placed on the 60-day DL and would obviously require a lengthy resting and rebuilding process — the realistic possibility of a return could impact the team’s summer trade market plans.
- The Yankees good news on Jacoby Ellsbury, who will not need surgery on his just-injured right knee, as Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com reports. “It is not anything that requires surgery so we are not holding anything that is doom or gloom,” said manager Joe Girardi. “We just have to see how he responds over the next few days and see what [team doctor Chris] Ahmad says.”
- Meanwhile, the Blue Jays are still set to be without outfielder Michael Saunders for three to five weeks, MLB.com’s Gregor Chisolm reports. Saunders says he suffered a bone bruise in his left knee that arose out of his recent surgery to remove his meniscus. The Jays are still bringing up the rear in the division, of course, and will hope that Saunders can return to action sooner rather than later.
The Red Sox announced this afternoon that first baseman/outfielder Allen Craig has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, meaning that he is no longer on the club’s 40-man roster.
That Craig cleared waivers unclaimed isn’t necessarily a surprise, given the lack of production he’s experienced in the past two seasons and the significant amount of money that remains on his contract. Had any team claimed the 30-year-old Craig on waivers, they would have been required to assume the remaining $25.2MM that he is owed through the end of the 2017 season. The outright does put an exclamation point on what has been an exceptionally sudden fall for Craig, who as recently as 2013 was one of the Cardinals’ most productive bats.
Craig suffered a lisfranc fracture in his foot at the end of the 2013 season and was never himself in 2014 before reaggravating his left foot following a trade to Boston. (Craig, along with Joe Kelly, joined the Sox in exchange for John Lackey.) Over his past 564 Major League plate appearances, Craig is hitting just .207/.275/.302. The Sox had already optioned him to Triple-A earlier this month, but the outright removes him from the 40-man roster, which is now at 37.
Craig, technically, has the right to refuse his outright assignment, but doing so would mean forfeiting the money remaining on his contract, so he’ll remain with Triple-A Pawtucket in hopes of rediscovering his stroke. Boston’s offense has struggled of late and has been anemic all season long when facing left-handed pitching, so a productive Craig would go a long ways toward boosting the team’s overall outlook. In 25 plate appearances at Pawtucket thus far, Craig is hitting .261/.320/.391 with three doubles.
Chris Young‘s career turned on a 1,168-word email the Royals right-hander wrote to a St. Louis surgeon in 2013 where he diagnosed himself as suffering from thoracic outlet syndrome, writes Andy McCullough of The Kansas City Star. Dr. Robert Thompson, director of the Washington University Center for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome concurred, and performed a decompression procedure to free the nerves in Young’s shoulder. “I feel better now at 35 than I did when I was in my late 20s, early 30s, because I was dealing with so much pain,” Young said. “I forgot what it was like to be healthy. Now I try to make up for lost time.” And that he has. Nearly two years after undergoing the career-saving operation, Young, the reigning AL Comeback Player of the Year, has been a relevation for the Royals pitching to a 1.06 ERA in seven games (including one start) with a 8.5 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 over 17 innings of work.
Elsewhere in the American League:
- The next start for Tigers ace David Price will be pushed back from Thursday to Saturday to give his mild hamstring strain extra time to heal, reports Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter links). Price says he could have pitched on normal rest, so the move is simply precautionary.
- The Tigers have a need for a left-handed power bat off the bench, but risk losing out-of-options infielder Hernan Perez to waivers if they attempt such an move, according to MLive.com’s Chris Iott.
- After throwing 108 pitches in winning his MLB debut as a starter, the White Sox remain coy on whether Carlos Rodon will remain in the rotation or return to the bullpen, writes MLB.com’s Scott Merkin. “You’re also somewhat protecting the amount of usage you’re going to get out of him over the course of the year, so there’s some factors that go into it for him and his learning curve and things like that,” said manager Robin Ventura. “There’s more to it than he’s just ready to go.” If Rodon remains in the rotation for the rest of the season, Merkin calculates the left-hander will approach the team’s unofficial innings limit of 160.
- The Red Sox‘s July 2014 trade of John Lackey for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly is looking worse and worse, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe opines. Craig performed poorly down the stretch in 2014 for the Red Sox and has been just as bad this year, and while Kelly’s radar gun readings have been impressive, his performance hasn’t (although his peripherals this season have been much better than his 5.72 ERA). Meanwhile, Lackey has pitched well for the Cardinals while making the league minimum salary.
6:42pm: The Red Sox will option Craig to the minors, Mastrodonato tweets.
5:11pm: A struggling Red Sox team appears set to shake up its roster, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald writes. Roster moves are “under discussion right now,” according to manager John Farrell. Michael Silverman, also of the Herald, tweets that one possible move could be a trade of outfielder Allen Craig. The team could also option Craig to the minors. Mastrodonato writes that Craig was in Farrell’s office with the door closed this afternoon.
Meanwhile, outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who has hit well for Triple-A Pawtucket, was scratched from the PawSox’ game Saturday. Mastrodonato notes that if Bradley were promoted, he could play center field against many righties, with Mookie Betts moving to right and Shane Victorino (who’s currently on a rehab assignment at Double-A Portland) playing right field against lefties.
It would likely be easier for the Red Sox to option Craig than to trade him. He’s off to a .146/.255/.208 start and also hit poorly last year, and he has about $25MM remaining on his contract. It would appear that the only way to trade him, then, would be to eat a significant amount of salary in the process. Hitting coach Chili Davis says he believes Craig needs to play every day to regain his hitting stroke, so perhaps a stint at Pawtucket could help rebuild his value.
The Phillies are “waiting with open arms” to find the right trade for at least one of their big-name veteran players, a major league official tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. That list of big names, of course, includes ace Cole Hamels, though Jonathan Papelbon and Chase Utley could also be moved, Cafardo writes. Amaro recently told reporters that he’s willing to eat part of Hamels’ contract in a trade if necessary, and that could help bring about a deal for the Phillies. More from today’s column..
- Major league sources tell Cafardo that the tampering investigation brought by Rays owner Stuart Sternberg against the Cubs for their hiring of Joe Maddon was reopened when Sternberg objected to the original verdict. In the end, however, it was found that there was no tampering in the negotiations.
- Marlins GM Dan Jennings thought he had trade possibilities for catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who was designated for assignment last week. He’s currently in the 10-day limbo period in which he could be traded, claimed, or put on waivers.
- Scouts are still waiting for Red Sox outfielder/first baseman Allen Craig to bust out and it appears Boston is going to play him more to boost his trade value. Cafardo notes that Craig has historically hit well in the month of May.
- The Red Sox are trying to create roster versatility by using players at different positions. Shortstop Deven Marrero is the team’s latest experiment after seeing time at second base. One NL scout isn’t so wild about the concept. “He’s a terrific athlete so he’ll do well at the other positions, but this is the type of guy where you know he’s a terrific shortstop so why mess around with that?” said the scout. “He’s got high confidence as a shortstop and now you’re reducing that confidence level by making him play positions he’s not used to.”